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Henry Burt Stevens

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Member Since: Jan, 2005

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Mother's death
by Henry Burt Stevens
Friday, April 01, 2005
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Henry Burt Stevens
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           >> View all 198

  Mother's Death

Grief enters even the prepared mind
as a child my purple Easter duckling died

now, my mother's shrivelled body,
76 pounds, 94 years, slows, sinking

feet first, then legs grow cold
breathing shallows, finally rattles

my sister and i comfort each other
saying "Mother's escaped from pain

and mindlessness," we hug and smile
starting the preparations and phone calls

but secretly we know each other's lie,
later, we'll quietly cry alone.

7 minutes

A slide show honoring my mother, May Clark Stevens.
( Small file, loads quickly, 2.18 minutes runtime.)
Click Here
  Mother's death, my most popular poem to date, will pass 2000 hits in the next few days.  Recently I added the slide show above, and today 3/24/2006 I am adding some family history photo booklets, which I was prompted to make over the past years as first my father, then my uncle and finally my mother died.

Making these booklets was a help to me and I enjoyed passing out copies over the years.  I am posting them now for a couple of reasons.  One, it gives me a chance work with them again, which is always my pleasure, Posting them here assembles them with the poem, which is gaining some exposure.  Members of my family may enjoy a chance to see them again, should they stop by.

But, really the poem and the booklets are part the universal story.  It's not just one story ; it's everyperson's story.  Endless variation, yes, and each of these other stories are worth telling. These booklets are easy to make.  Please see my story "Family History Photo Booklets."  Perhaps you would give it a try with your family's story?

Francis A Clark, my mother's brother.  View here.
Joe and May Stevens, my parents.  View here.
Henry, Murray, Barbara, me and my brother and sister.  View here.
(all .pdf files)


Mom's Birthday May 4, 2006


May Elvira Clark Stevens May 4 1908 -- June 11 2004


Mom's birthday is always a special day, even though I do not have an addresses to send cards to anymore. But she is always in my thoughts, especially those days when cards were possible to send and phone calls could go through.


This year I'm remembering Mom reading to me when I was 6 years old, plus or minus. After supper and before bedtime Mom would have me sit in her lap while she read prose and poetry. I often heard Robert Frost poems, the ones many of us know, about the crow shaking down snow, about walls and neighbors, horse and sleigh rides in winter woods, and the favorite- "so young it tottters when she licks it with her tongue."


Mom graduated from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont USA and though she enjoyed her school work she mostly spoke of summers waiting on tables at Breadloaf when Robert Frost was in residence and teaching. Though she was not attending the writing confrence, there were public events that she could attend due to her being a Middlebury student.


An other of Mom's favorites was, Alfred Noyes, "The highwayman" and when she was finished she would smile gently down at me, all the while I was trying to handle the tragedy that had just flooded my ears and senses. The beginning was stirring, I agree..."The road was a ribbon of moonlight, over the purple moor ..." but the ending always burned me alive. But then, I have never found violence to be entertaining, for some odd reason, because so many people do. It's a staple, a given that most serious entertainment has to be violent. Well, I didn't understand it back then and still don't.


But I understand very well how important it proved to be for me that Mom read to me in the evenings when I was a small child. Would that every child could be read to.

Alfred Noyes poem, "The highwayman"

 Mother's and Father's days 2006 
A short tribute and essay.   Here


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Reviewed by John Domino 12/28/2009
A mother is forever. Yes she is gone but she certainly lives in the hearts and minds of relatives and friends. Amen
Reviewed by Lois Christensen 7/19/2009
Beautiful tribute to your dear Mother. My sympathy is late but sincere. Hopefully your lfe is going on neatly and fond remembrances come to you of your life with Mother. I have them for all my deceased family members.
Reviewed by Rojob Khan 6/30/2009
I liked it as it reminded me of my own mother, as she was important to me.
Reviewed by Annabel Sheila 6/4/2009
I loved your poem. It's particularly poignant right now as my mother-in-law (92 years old) is in cardiac failure. It's most likely only a matter of days. She's so small in that hospital bed.....

Reviewed by Swan Son 2/19/2009
Beautifully said -- and the thoughts so universal -- a woman who lived such a long life lived to see so many changes -- my mother is almost 97 - her cousin almost 98 -- they both say they lived at the best time ever! I hope your Mom felt the same. Susan
Reviewed by Alan Busch 11/12/2008
dear henry,

may you know of no more sorrow. please accept my condolences. your poem is sensitive and insightful. thank you. be well.

alan d. busch
Reviewed by Lloyd Lofthouse 10/27/2008
Thanks for this tribute to your mother. It is with regret that she's gone but she lived a long life. I lost my mother a few weeks before her 90th birthday and also wrote a poem to honor her life. Anayone that lives as long as your mother or mind did has lived a lot and seen a lot--laughter and grief. I wonder how they felt when they lost their mothers. My mother never talked about that. Thanks to AuthordDen, we get to write about how we felt.
Reviewed by David Young 10/21/2008
This come from the heart of poetry wound in a mothers love for their poets.
Reviewed by Donna Quesinberry 10/7/2008
Awww...a good son and a beautiful mom.

Reviewed by Frances Seymour 10/3/2008
What a wonderful 'tribute to Mother.' Your Mom would be proud!
Reviewed by Dawn Anderson 9/25/2008
Pulls at the heart...especially your last few lines.
Reviewed by Bonnie May 9/18/2008
AS well it should for it is such a heartwrenching beautiful tribute to you lovely mother. Well done, for you have done her a great service by loving and remembering her. Prayers, Bonnie May
Reviewed by Penni Smith (Weston) 9/12/2008
Having just lost my mother in February 2008, I can sympathize and I was touched by your lovely sentiments. It is so hard to lose someone we love so much. I really don't think the tears ever stop. My condolences to you and your sister. Beautiful sentiment.
Reviewed by Cryssa C 9/12/2008
Thank you for sharing this. My mother passed away unexpectedly almost two years ago at the age of 67. I remember her reading us The Highwayman as well... My sister, brother and I just finished a book in tribute to my Mom. All proceeds from the sale of the book are going to Foyer de Sion, an orphanage in Haiti where seven of my children came from... Writing the book helped heal the pain of losing her in many ways...

Reviewed by Stan Law (aka Stanislaw Kapuscinski) 8/27/2008
Dear Henry, it seems that I am late, but even now my thoughts are with you. No matter, after all, time is only a means of arranging things in a sequence. Perhaps fate is involved, but I lost my mother about the same time you lost yours. Like you, I felt the need to write (the poem Mother, then the novel The Gate). And even more surprisingly, you and I are practically the same age (but don't tell anyone, I feel just a bit younger every day). Thanks for sharing. You are not alone.
Reviewed by Valerie Roeske 7/17/2008
Your mother was blessed with 94 years, wonderful tribute to her, you are in my prayers, thanks for sharing this with all of us, take care, God Bless .... Valerie
Reviewed by Mary Grace Patterson 7/5/2008
A wonderful sharing Hank. Its hard to see a loved one die. My mother slipped quietly away also. She was born July 18,1908, entered Heaven Dec 17, 2002. Thanks for taking us to a special part of your life. Your mom is always in your heart and lives on through you and your children..God Bless.....M
Reviewed by E. Farrand 1/12/2008
Hi Gwen,
I just discovered these writings. I will return to them tomorrow, as I must head to sleep now. This is a very special thing to honor your family members.
Reviewed by Poetess of The Soul Sheila G 6/28/2007
My HEART goes with you, your mom and your family Henry!
R.I.P. to all you know and love!
She had a heart of Gold ~ I can sure tell!
YOu have touched me and many with your endearing words of lOVe and
a warm centered Peace! Thank you and STay STrong!
This page is a gem and I will treasure it to the very end!
WArmly, WArrior "Spirit" Lady Sheeoox
STay POsitive!
Enjoy! your 4th of July of Independence in your special ways~!
Reviewed by Mary Coe 6/11/2007
Very touching. Very beautiful poem. I can relate. I lost my mother in 1983, when she was 66 years old.
Reviewed by Bennett 5/18/2007
Reviewed by Zahala San Simone 5/17/2007
Absolutely beautiful. And, you are correct--anyone who has lost a beloved parent can relate. Just lovely.

Reviewed by m j hollingshead 3/21/2007
I am sorry for your loss. Lovely tribute. I share your experience and your grief. Time does not erase, but it helps make the grief me bearable. I agree, to be read to daily is a wonderful thing for children and for their parents as well.
Reviewed by Gwendolyn Thomas Gath 1/2/2007

An exquisite poem and narratives it is more than beautiful~it is simply beyond words. I am happy to find this and partake of it sheer magnificence. Surely it was a blessing to have experienced the greatness of your family. Continued love and enlightenment to you Henry. The visit was a delight!

The best to you always,
From the Heart of an Artist Quiet Storm
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 3/19/2006
A soul-reaching expressive poem, Henry. I watched my father die so I can relate. Love and peace to you,

Reviewed by Connie Hinnen Cook 2/6/2006
I pray the pain has lessened,
but this certainly brings it all home for me.
Your mother was blessed to be so loved.
Reviewed by Sandie Angel 11/3/2005

A very emotional piece when added with your voice recital. Your mother was very lovely. What a wonderful smile she had on her face in this photo.!

Good poem and wonderful well-expressed reading!

Sandie May Angel a.k.a. Sandie Angel :o)
Reviewed by Richard Christopher Suarez 8/19/2005

I relate to your loss.

and I really respect your beautiful poem dedicated to your

mother. They are so precious.

and a saying comes to mind;

One I didn't write , but maybe you'll like it.

all souls will last forever , so we fear never say good-bye , a kiss when i must go

no tears in time we'll say hello.

peace and refreshed confort to you and yours',

Rich Criso Suarez
Reviewed by Huda Orfali 4/3/2005
Sorry to hear for your loss
Very touching poem
love and peace
Reviewed by Dawn Richerson 4/1/2005
Sorry to hear of your loss. The poem is incredibly powerful. Dawn
Reviewed by Michelle Mills 4/1/2005
Henry, I'm so very sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine the loss of my mother. She and I are so close. Bless you for having the courage to write as you grieve. Michelle
Reviewed by F William Broome 4/1/2005
Henry - I am so sorry. Words are almost meaningless at a time of death, but yours about your Mother tell a beautiful loving story for your friends. Thank you. - Bill
Reviewed by Sue Hess 4/1/2005
i can't bear the thought of losing my mom, even though i am guilty of not remembering to call her every day or two, which she expects. you are lucky to have had her for so many years
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton (Reader) 4/1/2005
It is never easy. Never.
Reviewed by E T Waldron 4/1/2005
Henry you have my deepest condolences! Somehow loss of a mother is always the hardest.That umbilical bond. I pray you will be comforted through your time of mourning.

Reviewed by Mr. Ed 4/1/2005
Truly sorry to hear this news, Henry, and my deepest sympathy to you and your family. I lost my father five years ago, and I still miss him terribly.
Reviewed by Antoinette Kopperfield 4/1/2005
So sorry to hear about your mother...
Beautiful poetry and great expressions
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